Monday, 15 December 2014

Under siege

As I type this post a siege of a cafe in Sydney is into its ninth hour and probably is still a long way from resolution.


The situation has necessitated a number of Central Business District blocks surrounding the site to be cordoned off from public access. Untold numbers spent part of or all of the day since the siege commenced in lockdown in their own nearby buildings.

The authorities have asked citizens to keep clear of this cordoned off area but otherwise to go about their business as usual.

For me this included going into town this afternoon to attend a theatre performance which was booked more than a year ago. Unsurprisingly, shortly after arriving at the theatre it was announced that the performance had been cancelled and so I made my way back home. I have rarely seen the CBD so light of traffic in what is normally peak hours. Public transport continued with some diversions but there was very little other traffic about.

I'm not complaining about the inconvenience of a cancelled performance which is a trivial matter considering the horror those being held in the cafe and in their offices must have experienced. The uncertainty for those still held in the cafe doesn't bear thinking about.

I pray that the siege will be brought to a conclusion as speedily and safely as possible.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Paddington


'Paddington' couldn't be more different than yesterday's movie visit ('Maps to the Stars'). A young bear, surviving a damaging earthquake in 'Darkest Peru', is sent to London for a safe future where it is unwittingly adopted by a family at Paddington railway station.

Clearly a film targeted at children and families it can be enjoyed nevertheless by all ages. The bear is undeniably cute and there are some humorous situations, none more so than an early scene where Paddington comes to messy grips with a human bathroom.
★★★

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Maps to the Stars


In its early scenes it appears that 'Maps to the Stars' is a spoof on Hollywood and celebrity but the black humour of those scenes quickly gives way to horror and violence.

This is a niche film which in part explains it limited screening; only showing on two screens in all of Australia.

A curiosity with limited appeal.
★★★

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings


The trailers and advertisements for 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' seem intentionally to conceal the rather obvious fact that this is a retelling of the biblical tale of Moses securing the release of the Hebrews from centuries of bondage under the Pharaohs of Egypt. I can only assume there was a thought that more people might see the film which in essence is promoted as two brothers falling out if the biblical connection was not mentioned up front.

There have been at least four previous filmed versions of this story spread across 84 years (1923-2007) all of them titled 'The Ten Commandments'; the two most famous being Cecil B De Mille's two productions (1923 and 1956). The advantages that 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' has over the earlier works include that it is more realistic and shuns the melodrama of its predecessors. In addition it has the benefit of 21st technology for its impressive special effects.

On the negative side, the screenplay is banal at times and there are moments of ironic and suggestive humour that seem out of place. The film has caused a furore over its casting and the decision to use a nine year old boy as the embodiment of God is rather perplexing even though the actor used has a eerily mature manner.

Despite the negatives I quite enjoyed this biblical epic.
★★★1/2